March 6th, 2014


Die schöne Müllerin

Matthias Goerne and Christoph Eschenbach have been performing together for many years, and have developed an extraordinary artistic partnership. Some singers work with an accompanist and it's the singer's show; in much of the best song repertoire that approach will only go so far. Especially so in Schubert, whose songs are as much piano pieces as vocal ones. And, as finely wrought as they are musically, they're often driven by their texts and require both singer and pianist to put the words first. And so, a pair this experienced at deploying their prodigious talents in tandem are well equipped for the journeys of both the individual songs and the cycles.

The details of note are endless. (But I didn't manage to find words until I was on the bridge, and this kinda peters out, so the examples aren't endless.) The varied burbling vocabulary of water that Eschenbach draws from the piano in the first third of the cycle, dappled with as many different types of light. The supple evenness of Goerne's instrument, and the apparent ease with which he varies its size phrase by phrase. He was a delightful discovery when I first got to know his work nearly 20 years ago (and as I recall, the first time I heard him live was Winterreise, also at Carnegie); he's even more impressive now.